Epiphany celebrates the giving of gifts, it is the Little Christmas long supplanted by December 25th, which is really about Santa Claus and the secular notion of christmas (note the lower case). You have to work hard at centering December 25th of the Nativity and the birth of Our Lord. But Epiphany has no rivals. And at mass, Fr. John turned the tables and asked us, “What gifts did you GIVE?” We are always asked what we GOT but in the Spirit of Christmas, it is truly about the gifts we give freely, offer with out hesitation and honor.
The Magi gave gold, frankincense and myrrh: symbols of our God made flesh and his reign on this world. Might I have acted like the Magi? Following a mysterious sign in the sky across vast territory to honor a swaddled babe in a barn and then to defy a ruler, King Herod whom surely would seek vengeance? It makes me reconcile to whom I swear my fealty, right?
So, what gifts do I give? What do I have to offer? Do I give freely and without expectation or condition? Am I fully aware and truly aware of all the gifts bestowed upon me? It says that He knew me the moment he knitted me in my mother’s womb. There is great grace in that idea, great comfort. And yet, I have free will, I can decide to love or hate. I can decide to be generous or stingy. I can choose knowledge or ignorance. I can stand prideful or kneel humbly. So many choices.
But, if I choose wisely and with constant regard to His Will (for all life, not just my own), then I have an abundance to offer the world AND I receive so much in return, I receive an eternity of love. I choose love and humility and mercy.
What gifts do you have to offer? Do you give them freely?